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Aggies open outdoor season at UTSA Texas Challenge Invitational

March 19, 2014
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

SAN ANTONIO – Texas A&M moves into the outdoor phase of the track and field season as they participate in the team scored UTSA Texas Challenge Invitational that will be held in a new venue, the Park West Athletics Complex, on the UTSA campus this Friday and Saturday.

Teams competing in the meet, which is the first home event for UTSA since 1995, include Houston, Texas, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Texas Tech and the host Roadrunners.

Admission to the meet is free and action begins at noon on Friday with A&M’s Daniel Martin competing in the decathlon. The Aggies will also have entries in a pair of throwing events with the javelin and hammer. The multi-event continues at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday while field events begin at noon. Running events also start at noon and the meet will conclude at 4 p.m.

NCAA Indoor champion Deon Lendore is scheduled to run in the 400 this weekend as well as the 4x400 relay. Joining Lendore in the 400 are teammates Carlyle Roudette and Deon Hickey. Lendore finished the indoor season as the world leader with a career best of 45.03. Outdoors Lendore has a career best of 44.94 that placed him second at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Wayne Davis II, a bronze medalist at the NCAA Indoor Championships over 60m hurdles, will begin his NCAA Outdoor title defense over the 110 hurdles. Last season, Davis claimed the NCAA 110H title with a wind-aided mark of 13.14, the second fastest winning time ever in the NCAA final.

Another returning defending NCAA Outdoor champion for the Aggies is the women’s 4x100 relay, which collected eight victories and did not finish one race in 2013. Texas A&M set the collegiate leading time of 42.56 in winning the Texas Relays title and also collected victories at the Penn Relays (43.05), SEC Championships (43.43) and NCAA Championships (42.88).

The Aggie throwing crew will make its season debut in the discus, javelin and hammer this weekend. The group includes Shelbi Vaughan and Jill Hydrick in the women’s discus; Dalton Rowan, Jeff Bartlett and Ben Skrla in the men’s discus; the foursome of Krystyn Bradley, Jean Deason, Jena Hemann and Kendall Munoz in the women’s javelin; Devin Bogert and Sam Hardin in the men’s javelin; Alison Ondrusek in the women’s hammer; along with Austin Cook and Casey Strong in the men’s hammer.

Rowan has scored in the NCAA Championships the past two seasons in the discus, placing eighth as a freshman and seventh in his sophomore campaign. He enters his junior season with a career best of 196-8 (59.95).

Vaughan broke the A&M school record in her first meet as an Aggie last season and improved it to 193-4 (58.93) during the course of the season. She was undefeated among collegians, claiming the SEC title along the way, before three fouls in the NCAA West preliminary rounds ended her freshman season.

In the javelin Bogert has placed 12th in the NCAA Championships the past two years and enters his junior campaign with a personal best of 238-5 (72.66). Munoz is the top returning Aggie in the women’s javelin as she placed fifth in the SEC and then set a career best of 155-7 to reach the NCAA Championship field.

Strong improved the A&M school record in the hammer twice last season and placed fourth at the SEC Championships. He brings a best of 206-7 (62.97) into his senior campaign.

Hemann, who has a best of 151-11 in the javelin from the 2012 season, will compete in the throwing event as well as the 100 hurdles in preparation for the Texas Relays heptathlon, which will begin next Wednesday in Austin.

Another debut for the Aggies will occur in the women’s 400 hurdles where Shamier Little moves to her specialty event after setting a career best mark indoors over 400 meters. Jessica Laseak joins Little in the hurdle event.

Little, who recently placed third at NCAA Indoor in the 400 (51.96) and was the top freshman indoors (51.86), has clocked a best of 57.44 in the 400 hurdles to claim the US Junior title in 2012 and won the Penn Relays in 2013 with a 58.80.

San Antonio native Greg Coleman headlines the men’s 400 hurdles for A&M with Aikan Graham and Ryan Mehl in action as well. Coleman, who competed at Warren in high school, set at career best of 50.50 last year on the way to reaching the NCAA semifinals.

The steeplechase will feature Isaac Spencer, who placed third in the SEC and advanced to the NCAA semifinals in 2013. He set a trio of personal best times in his sophomore season, with an 8:40.87 in the NCAA quarterfinals being his best effort. Joining Spencer in the race is Dylan Williams.

Spencer and Williams will also be part of an A&M crew competing in the 1,500 meters. Aggies racing that distance are Juan Castellano, Austin Geerts, Ryan Miller, Aaron Murray, and Austin Wells. A&M women competing in the 1,500 include Grace Fletcher, Johanna Galloway, Karis Jochen, Hillary Montgomery, Gabby Salazar and Katie Willard.

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